India’s Youth Transformation Has Been A Long Time In The Making

When India won the Champions Trophy, Nasser Hussain (and a few others) marveled at how quickly India has filled the holes left behind by out-of-form/retiring legends (such as Yuvraj, Sehwag, Zaheer, Tendulkar). I’m not sure “quickly” is the right word — since at least the 2007 World Cup, India’s official policy (first formed by Greg Chappell) has been to find and support younger players. A number of players currently at the top of their games — Dhawan, Karthik, Jadeja, Rohit Sharma — are on second-run tours in the national team, and it took a fair while before India dropped non-performing seniors (both in the Test and ODI formats of the game).

Am I merely quibbling with an off-hand remark? My point is that other teams in search of new batting talent (like Australia and Pakistan and the West Indies) should not think that India’s current largesse is the magical inevitability of having millions of dollars and a large supply of potential players. That certainly helps — as Dhoni said in his acceptance speech, one reason Indian fielding is so good now is that players aren’t deathly afraid anymore that they’ll die diving on brown maidans. But India has succeeded now because of many failures in the past (8-0 overseas, 2-1 against England), and giving youngsters time and space to perform is a messy, chaotic process.

I will say that it’s much more fun to watch a team of hungry youngsters win than a pack of entitled (but truly awesome) veterans. Watching this team, I was reminded a little bit of the 2007 World Cup T20 lads (of whom only Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Karthik remain) — the naive self-belief and the raw (but untested) talent. During the final, I was amazed to find myself feeling that India, even with its top and middle order largely gone, would still achieve a good score, and that some bowler — Jadeja, or Ashwin — would take the wickets at the right time. That expectation of victory…well, it’s downright Australian. Time will tell where this team goes from here — will they follow the path of the WCT20 squad, or somewhere else?

7 thoughts on “India’s Youth Transformation Has Been A Long Time In The Making

  1. godof86 says:

    India’s always had batsmen, and always will. It’s true that it’s impossible to replace the big4 like for like, but the new guys will be there and thereabouts – they will be (say) 90% of the big4 at least.
    Therefore, the transformation in ODIs is easier because it’s a batsman’s game.
    In test matches, where bowlers win matches, it’s a different story. The national team’s not been close to replacing Kumble and Zaheer, however good Ashwin and Bhuvaneshwar and Umesh have been. Have to give this to the young guns though, they are talented and hungry. We shall see.

  2. Interesting, what do you think to the insistence of Selecting Ishant Sharma?

  3. Nikhil says:

    I don’t think there is a lack of alternatives in the case of Ishant Sharma. Shami Ahmed, who was recently selected as a replacement for Irfan Pathan for the West Indies tour, is a viable alternative. In fact, England would have been a great place to test Shami’s ability, as his stock ball is the pitched up outswinger. In any case, the West Indies and Zimbabwe tours should both be used to groom some of our younger fast bowling talent. Umesh, Bhuvneshwar, and Shami should all be used across the next 9 or 10 one dayers so that they get good exposure. I honestly don’t think we should worry much about results, because the idea is that exposure to these conditions will hold them in good stead for the South Africa tests at the end of the year.

  4. Noel Carrasco says:

    Ishant was the alternative here. The selectors obviously did not have enough faith in Shami to do the job then.

  5. livescore says:

    Nasir Hussain was right new generation in Indian national cricket team is full of motivation and definitely these boys have ability to win the big titles. For example Kholi will be legend of Indian cricket team and will be as a next Sachin Tendulkar.

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